It can often be hard to buy a small amount of cheese you can consume in just a few days. You don’t want quality cheese to go to waste, though, so what should you do with it? Is there a way to safely store cheese so it will last long enough to be eaten?
Safely storing cheese is a surprisingly simple process that almost any can do in their home kitchen. Using just a bit of wax paper, a specific folding technique, and a plastic bag or container, you can store cheese for up to a couple of months in your refrigerator.
Cheese lovers know that a good cheese is one that’s been well stored and aged. Therefore, you shouldn’t let all the time and effort that went into making a good cheese go to waste because of improper storage. Follow these tips and your cheese will be good to the last nibble.
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How to Store Cheese Properly
The first step to storing cheese is to ditch the plastic wrap. Wrapping an opened piece of cheese in plastic will prevent it from breathing and ruin the delicious flavor you’re hoping to savor again. Even if the cheese came in plastic, it’s best to throw it away. The original casing was vacuum-sealed to protect your cheese, but you won’t be able to recreate that seal.
Instead, grab a piece of wrapping paper or cheesecloth. These materials are permeable enough to allow your cheese to breathe while still protecting it from the dehydrating effects of a refrigerator. Simply fold the paper or cloth around the cheese like you would a gift:
- Place your cheese the center of a square of paper or cheesecloth
- Fold the top corner down over your cheese
- Pull the two sides in to cover the cheese
- Pull up the bottom corner to seal the bundle
- Fold any remaining tail up and tape it down to lock everything in place
After your cheese is fully wrapped, just pop it in the fridge and it should be fine to leave in your fridge for the time being.
How Long Can Cheese Be Stored?
Unless you have a large supply of cheese, when properly stored, cheese should last as long as it takes for you to consume it. This does, however, depend a bit on the type of cheese:
- Soft cheeses – These are your blues, camembert, brie, and mozzarella style cheeses. They typically have a higher water content, meaning that they won’t last as long as older, dried cheese. Try to consume these within the two-week mark.
- Semi-hard cheeses – Think of your gouda, swiss cheeses, and Havarti. These cheeses are firm enough to last in a fridge longer than soft cheeses but you should still aim to eat them within three weeks. Any longer than that and they will begin to spoil.
- Hard cheeses – Hard cheeses include parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino, and manchego. They have been aged and dried for a long time, leaving them without much water and allowing them to last for up to two months in your refrigerator.
Even though cheese is a product of fermentation, it’s still not a good idea to eat spoiled dairy products. If you leave your cheese past these time ranges, it’s best to through it out.
How to Tell if Cheese Has Gone Bad
If you are not sure whether or not to throw out an old package of cheese, you can generally make your decision based on one of these three indicators:
- Appearance – Looks can be deceiving in the world of cheese, but if you know what you are eating, trust your intuition. Stale hard cheeses often change color and turn rock hard when they dehydrate. Soft cheeses will begin oozing liquid and turn an awful color. Even semi-hard cheeses will begin growing mold.
- Smell – If your cheese looks ok but you’re still unsure, give it a smell. Cheese is a dairy product so if it has gone off, it will have that characteristic rotten milk smell. Some blue cheeses carry a mighty funk, though, so it’s always wise to compare what your cheese smells like now compared to when you bought it.
- Taste – If a piece of cheese manages to pass both the appearance and smell test, you can then move on to tasting it. Most cheeses will not cause you bodily harm if you nibble on a piece of bad cheese. That being said, if it tastes off, just don’t eat it.
No one likes bad cheese, so if it seems to have gone off, just throw it out and get some more.
- The MODULA Cheese Box by MEPAL is perfect for food storage, ranging from the most decadent parmesan and feta to slices of cheddar and mozzarella
- Airtight and leakproof, lightweight, dishwasher safe, BPA free
- Thanks to the stylish design and stackability, the box is not only extremely practical, but also looks smart on your kitchen counter
Mistakes You Should Avoid
As easy as storing cheese sounds, it’s still possible to make some basic mistakes. Avoid these faux pas and your cheese will be fine:
- Never drain a wet cheese – If a cheese comes packaged in liquid, keep it stored in that liquid or it will dehydrate. You can use a storage box to hold the liquid and cheese together.
- Don’t leave hard cheeses open in the fridge – Although we said it’s fine to just wrap cheese in a piece of wrapping paper or cloth, it’s best to then put hard cheeses in a cheese container to help protect them from the dehydrating effects of your fridge.
- Don’t freeze cheese – Freezing cheese is a fast way to ruin its flavor. Remember, cheese is made through fermentation, so you want to keep the probiotics alive.
Let your cheese breathe and it’ll be just as good the next time you eat it.
- Cheese keeper stores up to 12 cups of cheese
- Features safety closure to keep cheese fresh and odor free longer
- Eliminates plastic bags or wrap
Say Goodbye to Moldy Cheese!
Even if your eyes were bigger than your tummy, you don’t have to throw out your leftover cheese. By simply wrapping it tightly in a breathable material such as paper or cloth, you can safely keep cheeses in your fridge for up to two months. Remember to consider the type of cheese you are storing and avoid making any of the mistakes listed here. Good luck and bon appetit!